Sabrina the Teenage Witch, 1994


Original Medium: Comic Books
Published by: Archie Comics
First Appeared: 1962
Creators: George Gladir (writer) and Dan DeCarlo (artist)
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Sabrina did not start with Melissa Joan Hart. In fact, she goes back to before Hart was born. She first appeared in the back pages of a comic book, Archie's Madhouse #22 (October, 1962), published by …

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Archie Comics. Her first story was written by George Gladir and drawn by Dan DeCarlo, who drew Betty & Veronica for Archie from 1957-2000 and is credited with designing the publisher's current house style.

Some characters instantly achieve stardom. Some never do. And then there's Sabrina, who languished in fillers for years but eventually made it big. In 1969, she became a supporting character in Archie's TV Laughout. It was April, 1971 before she finally graduated to a comic book of her own.

By that time, tho, she'd already begun sharing the title of a TV show — Sabrina & the Groovie Goolies began Sept. 12, 1970 on CBS. Her own separate animated show started Sept. 11, 1971. In all these shows, her voice was done by Jane Webb (Batgirl and The Catwoman in The Batman/Superman Hour). Webb continued to voice her as she was relegated back to a secondary position, behind Archie again, for most of the rest of the '70s.

The comic book, however, continued 77 issues, ending in 1983. Also in comic books, her weirdest gig was as host of an offbeat one called Chilling Adventures in Sorcery as Told by Sabrina, in which mostly mild but sometimes effective horror stories were drawn in the "big-foot" Archie style. Except for the art style, which was reminescent of the previous decade's Tales Calculated to Drive You Bats, it was modeled after EC's horror comics, Tales from the Crypt, etc., with Sabrina herself taking the role of host. This little-known gem lasted two issues, both of which came out in 1972. (A year later, under its "Red Circle" imprint, Archie Comics brought out a horror comic along more conventional lines, titled Chilling Adventures in Sorcery, and started it with #3.)

Sabrina continued to poke along in comics with fillers, supporting gigs, and an occasional special, until 1996, when she made her live-action TV debut. Starting with a two-hour spring movie and continuing with a prime-time half-hour weekly series in the fall, Sabrina finally achieved a measure of stardom. From there, she got back into animation (voiced by Hart's sister, Emily), then into video games and all kinds of marketing.

Naturally, this led to a revival of her comic book, and for years, each issue of the new series had Melissa Joan Hart's picture on the cover. Which may not be the pinnacle of superstardom, but it's more than Captain Sprocket, Professor Transistor, Alice the Astronaughty Space Girl, and other characters who started out in Archie's Madhouse ever achieved.


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Text ©1999-2009 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Archie Comics.